February 2, 2006

Three Eight Charlie - Jerrie Mock's Record Trip Around the World

N1538C.jpgDo you know who the first woman to fly solo around the world was? Up until a few weeks ago I could not have answered that question. Many mistakenly answer the question with Amelia Earhart, but she sadly was lost after completing 75% of her journey and she had a navigator along with her.

The correct answer is Jerrie Mock, a 38 year old woman from Ohio. I just finished reading about her historic 1964 flight. She flew over 23,000 miles in 29 days through terrible conditions including: sandstorms, thunderstorms, icing, rain and excessive heat. Her only companion on this flight was Charlie, a Cessna 180 Skywagon with an FAA Registration of N1538C (November one five three eight charlie) and title the Spirit of Columbus.

I learned about Jerrie Mock from Dan Pimentel "Av8rDan" who had the exclusive movie rights to Jerrie's story and developed a screenplay based on his research and interviews. You can learn more about his screenplay project on the Three Eight Charlie website or the project blog.

After reading about the project I decided I needed to learn more so I went to the library and checked out Jerrie's book on the historic flight, Three-Eight Charlie, which was an enjoyable read. During her flight she had to battle fatigue, equipment problems (radio malfunctions, rough engines and electrical fires) in addition to the afore mentioned difficult weather conditions. If all that was not enough to make it exciting, Jerrie has to leave earlier than planned as another woman aviator decided to make a race of it.

It was interesting to learn about the state of aviation in the 60s from her perspective, as Jerrie visited 14 countries including places like: Casablanca, Calcutta, Bangkok, Cairo and Wake Island that had varying levels of sophistication towards aviation. She did a nice job of balancing stories about the flights themselves with tales of her time on the ground at each checkpoint. The trip was filled with exciting moments that concluded on April 17, 1964 when she flew into the history books by completing the 29 day, 23, 206.36 mile journey around the world.

I encourage you all to check this book out of your library. Then spend some time checking out Dan's sites about Three Eight Charlie and Jerrie Mock. I would love to see this story be told on the big screen!

Posted by at February 2, 2006 8:43 PM

You are a lucky guy to have found her book in a library...the initial distribution in 1970 was botched big time by the publisher, and now very few copies exist anywhere. There are posts out there by collectors offering up to $500 for them. I have three, but bought them back before I beat the pavement and raised the public's awareness of Jerrie.

Thanks a million for the post, I will aim people at your very nice blog so they can hopefully bookmark it as I have.

Posted by: Av8rdan at February 3, 2006 12:50 PM | Reply

A very gutsy lady. Great story and I need to read more of it.

Posted by: Bill Critch at February 26, 2006 5:43 PM | Reply

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